Golden Prairie Press: American History {a review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew}

Golden Prairie Press

I feel like I have been searching for years for a decent American History program that the kids love and that I will love to teach. Amy Puetz of Golden Prairie Press has put together one of the best American History curriculum I have ever had the pleasure of using! Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum is so well put together and has a little bit for every different type of learning style. While this curriculum is intended for grades 1-6, it can be used with older children too. This program retails for $98.99 and can be purchased as a digital or physical book (though the physical book comes in black and white, while the digital book is in color).

Golden Prairie Press Review

 The main text of this curriculum is called Heroes and Heroines of the Past and is divided into two eBooks. Each contains 15 weeks of lessons. The rest of the extras are separate. The additional materials download includes printable timelines, videos, full size pictures of the artwork, and coloring pages. There is a separate eBook that includes the historical skits. There are also two separate audio downloads that include listening to history and singing some history.


 From the moment I began reading through this curriculum to prepare it for my children, I knew it would be a hit! There are so many fun extras and the mix of activities is perfect. Each lesson begins with a reading from the Heroes and Heroines main text. Most lessons have a shorter, condensed version to use with your younger students (mainly 1st and 2nd graders). This is typically one page long. Then there is a longer more detailed version to use with your older students. Some days the reading is combined and both age groups read the same, but I love this option. I love having the ability to teach a wider age range of students, but still have them learn at their own level. There are enough lessons in this program to get through American History in one year if you do one lesson per day, five days per week.


The end of the lesson includes all of the extras. There are typically some quick comprehension questions, just to make sure your students actually picked up the important points of the story. There are also writing prompts if you wish to extend the lesson to include some language arts. The lessons include some type of geography study too. This last page is also the page where you find the added activities. Some days that includes studying art work (there is a full color copy of each art work on the additional materials download). Other days you may be doing a play, listening to music, creating something, cooking, listening to history, or working on a timeline. There are Bible verses to memorize and extra readings you can do if you want your read alouds to coincide with your history studies. I’m telling you, there is a little bit of everything in this curriculum!


There is also a package of literature you can purchase for your older students to read independently. A few of the books are public domain, but if you purchase the books through Golden Prairie Press, you will be purchasing books that have already been edited for things like racial slurs and outdated words. There is also a coloring book you can purchase for your younger learners. They can color along while they listen to the history stories read. This really is a great multi-level curriculum that is family friendly and a lot of fun!


I always wonder when we start a curriculum what my kids will take away from the readings. I have been reading the selections for the older students, even though my daughter is technically in 2nd grade. They have done a great job listening and taking away the main points of the lesson. They are learning new things and really enjoying this. I love that the readings aren’t dumbed down, but neither are they filled with words the kids don’t understand. The author made sure to include stories about famous women too, which is unfortunately left out of many older history books. So I am learning some new things about these heroines that I didn’t even know before!


My daughter was unbelievably excited when I told her there were skits to do with history. She loves acting and this was perfect for her. My son wasn’t thrilled at first. But once we started the play, you could tell he was really getting into it. I tried to not let onto the fact that I saw him enjoying it, but he did. 😉 We have studied more wonderful works of art through this curriculum than we have in a long time. I never realized how many artists depicted the early American history times.

The projects we have done with this curriculum have been great. No project has been too complicated and they have all been wonderful at tying together what we are learning in the history text. There are few things more frustrating to me than getting a book full of activities that include ingredients or materials I don’t keep at home. But we have been able to do everything so far with no problems.


Since my husband has a military background, American History is a very important subject in our home. I was so glad when this curriculum came up for review…it looked promising from the beginning and I was not disappointed! I feel it does such a great job of blending traditional history with an element of fun that will hold any child’s attention. My kids are learning so much about American History and for that I am very grateful to Amy Puetz, the wonderful author. I no longer feel the need to search for that “perfect” American History curriculum. I am confident we have found that with Heroes and Heroines of the Past. If you have been searching for a great American History curriculum, check it out. We really love it!

Click the link below to see what other Crew members thought about this wonderful American History curriculum!

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Logic of English Foundations Level A {a review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew}

Logic of English Foundations A

If you have ever had difficulty finding a great reading and phonics program for your children, I may have the answer for you. I have just recently been introduced to the Logic of English curriculum, and it is a big hit! Have you ever wondered if English really makes sense? There seem to be so many exceptions in our language, but Denise Eide, author of the Logic of English, makes sense of it all.

For this review I was given the following products: Foundations, Level A , the Reusable Resources Set, and the Doodling Dragons App. Foundations, Level A retails for $71 and includes the teacher’s manual, the student workbook (in either cursive or manuscript), and the Doodling Dragons book. The Reusable Resource Set (which can be used in all of the Foundations levels) retails for $85 and includes the Basic Phonogram Flash Cards, Handwriting Tactile Cards, Phonogram Game Cards (two sets), Rhythm of Handwriting Quick Reference Chart, Small Student Whiteboard. Again, these are all available in either cursive or manuscript. The Doodling Dragon App retails for $4.99. The suggested age range for Foundations is 4-7, and the Doodling Dragons app can be enjoyed by children ages 2-7.


I know a lot of people feel overwhelmed with it comes to teaching language arts, probably because it is one of the most important subjects your child will learn (the other being math). The Logic of English Foundations program takes you through teaching reading in such an easy to follow and easy to implement way. Everything is broken down into simple steps that any parent can teach.


The Logic of English is a program based on Orton-Gillingham’s method of teaching. So each word is broken down into phonograms, or the sounds that each letter makes. I love this method because not only does it make strong readers, but it also develops strong spellers. Even though I feel like I am learning as I teach (since I was not taught with phonograms) I have seen huge improvements with reading as my children learn how to sound out new words easily with the phonograms.


The Logic of English Foundations program works on learning handwriting at the  same time that your child is learning the phonograms.  You are able to choose either manuscript or cursive. Since we prefer to teach cursive first, this program is perfect! Handwriting instruction is taught piece by piece, beginning with some basic strokes used in the letters. My son loves using the dry erase board to practice. One side has a big set of lines and the other side is smaller. There are also practice pages in the workbook. We love the sandpaper letters, too! They make it so easy for a child to use muscle memory when it comes time to write the actual letter. The great thing about this program, though, is that you don’t have to do handwriting and phonics together. You can, but it isn’t necessary. So if your child is ready for letters but not ready for handwriting, you can work at their pace.


The level A foundations book has 40 lessons and also includes a review after every 5 lessons. The scope and sequence walks you through exactly what your children will be learning each lesson. The individual lessons are set up in a way that they can work for busy families. At first glance, you can see what the lesson objectives are and what materials you will need. The lessons are scripted so you don’t have to figure out what to say. Each section, including phonemic awareness, handwriting, phonograms, and phonogram practice, is divided so that you can easily start and stop the lesson without getting lost. I would imagine that most young children could probably work through the book at about a lesson or two per week. Since Moose already knows some phonograms, he was able to complete one lesson every two days. The sides of the pages are filled with colorful boxes of helpful hints, tips, and activities. 

Logic of English Review

The Logic of English also has great apps that work to support their programs. We received the Doodling Dragons app, and both of my younger boys (ages 5 and 3) love it! This app works to help the child break words apart into their individual phonograms. This is a great introduction to phonograms for my Little Bear. He loves to play the games, and why not learn something while you play! Each page is divided to practice one phonogram. This is the same in the book Doodling Dragons. Both of these tools provide so much more than any basic alphabet book can. They are bright and colorful and fun!


The Logic of English Foundations program is one of the best programs around for active little learners. No other program I have seen taps into every learning style in every lesson. Your kids will be moving, writing, listening, and playing, all with an end result of learning to read. Moose loves the variety of activities that comes with Foundations. It can be easy to get into a rut with lessons that are similar day after day, but that doesn’t happen with Foundations.


As I mentioned before, Moose was able to do one lesson every two days. What we typically did was break the lesson into the phonogram parts and the handwriting parts. So one day he would be learning and reviewing phonograms, and the next he would be learning to draw the phonogram. Moose is a little boy who loves things to be perfect, so handwriting is hard for him. He is not pleased if a letter doesn’t look exactly like it does on the card. I was able to remedy this by mixing things up with how we practiced handwriting. Some days we used the dry erase board and sandpaper letters. Other days, I had him practice writing in sand or shaving cream. Sometimes I would draw the letter on the dry erase board and then have him erase it as he drew the letter. This really helped him feel more comfortable with his letters, and he was so excited to be learning cursive like the big kids!


Even though I am already pretty comfortable with the Orton-Gillingham method of teaching, the Foundations curriculum is so wonderful to have. I don’t have to write lesson plans or put together activities. No books need to be read and no research needs to be done. This curriculum is complete. Fun for the kids and easy for the parents…who could ask for more?!

If you worry about your abilities to teach phonics, check out Logic of English. There is no assumption that you are trained as a teacher or that you already know the material. The teacher’s manual walks you through everything as if you have never taught phonics before. This is one product I would highly recommend for any parent who is unsure about teaching their child to read. It truly is wonderful!

 Click on the link below to see what other Crew members thought about the Logic of English!

Click to read Crew Reviews

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Lilla Rose Sale and Beautiful Flexi-of-the-Month Just in Time for Mother’s Day!

FOTM-May 2014

As you may or may not know, I am now a consultant for Lilla Rose– yay!

I haven’t had a chance to advertise much, but I really wanted to let you know about this awesome sale and a beautiful Flexi-of-the-Month that is sure to sell out fast!

You can see in the picture above that this flexi, “Faith Hope Love” is a beautiful purple and has a removable “Mom” charm- perfect for Mother’s Day! In fact, my Mother’s Day present to myself was the Faith Hope Love headband.:-)

There is also a great sale going for 2 days only, which includes the Faith Hope Love flexi (but order quick, because they do sell out fast!). You can get 10% off all items, including the Flexi-of-the-Month, and you can also get 20% off any retiring styles! Plus, free shipping if you order $40 or more!

I have one more great offer for you!:-) If you are a new customer to Lilla Rose and you order through my website (make sure the web address ends with PurpleHeartWife), I will send the first three people who order $40 or more a certificate to “Have One on Us!”, which is good for one free item $16 or less! But please remember, you must be a new customer to Lilla Rose. This offer is only redeemable from a U.S. address.

So what are you waiting for? Go check out Lilla Rose and see all of the beautiful clips and accessories they have to offer!

Lilla Rose sale



Poppins Book Nook: The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

This month’s theme for the Poppins Book Nook is “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”.  We decided to try a new book for this month’s reading, and I immediately had an activity in mind!

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 This cute little picture book,The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, is a sweet story about a lighthouse that starts to feel not needed. The little red lighthouse has been used for years to keep boats safe from the fog and the dark. One day, the construction of a bridge begins right next to the lighthouse. The lighthouse fears he will no longer be needed since the bridge has a big bright light on it already. In the end, the lighthouse learns that he is still needed to keep boats safe, even with the big bridge right beside him.


For this book, I decided it would be fun to try to create a bridge with food. So I collected some treats that are rare in our home…the kids were very excited! We used marshmallows, jelly beans, Twizzlers, graham crackers, and pretzels to create a bridge and lighthouse of our own. Little did I know how difficult the bridge would be to build!


If we did this again, I would definitely make up a batch of thick icing, like the kind you use with gingerbread houses. We still had a great time and learned about how difficult bridge construction can really be!


After we finished building the bridge, I let the kids decide what they wanted to build and gave them some time to create. They love it and had a lot of fun! Caspian created an airplane.


Aurora made a smiley face garden.


Moose made a jail (the side-effect of being the son of a police officer!).


They even created some people to go with their creations.


So even though our bridge may not have turned out as magnificent as I had hoped, we still had a lot of fun and the kids were very creative! They spent hours at the table fixing things and creating new things. There is just something so cool about creating something and then being able to eat it. Have you ever played with your food and created something with it? If you haven’t, I highly recommend trying. I can pretty much guarantee your kids will love it!

Now I invite you to click on the links below and see what fun activities everyone else has done with this month’s theme. Happy reading!

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Faith and Good Works ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual MayhemPreschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~  Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Water on the Floor ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom’s Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids

Be sure to stay connected with the Poppins Book Nook and follow along with the fun!
Poppins Book Nook
Clip Art by Melon Headz


















Audio Drama at Its Best with “The Brinkman Adventures” {a review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew}

Brinkman Adventures

Does your family listen to audio books? We love them in our home, but we have really never tried audio drama before. We recently received an absolutely wonderful audio drama collection called the The Brinkman Adventures. The CDs we reviewed included The Brinkman Adventures Season 2: Episodes 13-24. Each season’s collection includes hours of audio entertainment for your entire family. They were created with families in mind and are perfect to listen to together, whether that is in the car, at home, or wherever you choose to listen to them. The Brinkman Adventures are available either on CDs or as mp3 files. The CDs retail for $25 (with free shipping too!), and the mp3 files are $17.

Brinkman Adventures Review

The Brinkman Adventures is a series of audio episodes based on the lives of real missionaries. They do change the names of people and certain places for the sake of privacy and safety, but the events have actually happened. The Season 2 episodes involves the Brinkman family trying to get down to Mexico for a missions trip. There are many times they wonder if they will ever get down to Mexico. Like so many other things in life, there are obstacles in the way. But, the family sticks together as they seek the Lord’s will, and in the end, everything works out for God’s glory.

These days it seems difficult to find sources that encourage our children to spread the Gospel in a meaningful way, but that is exactly what the Brinkman Adventures does. Throughout their travels, the Brinkman family is faced with many difficult decisions and circumstances. But what do they choose to do? They immediately take their needs and questions to the Lord in prayer. This is such a refreshing thing for families to hear! So many times we try to outsmart God’s plans, but it the end, it is only when we surrender to His plans that we can be truly successful in life.

We have a family full of kids that get car sick. 😦 So anything I can do to distract them in the car is good. Listening to the Brinkman Adventures did the trick for us. I have never had a car trip where everyone was so quiet! We have done audio books in the car before, and usually the younger boys talk right through it. But not with the Brinkman Adventures! Between episodes, they were full of questions about the “hows” and “whys” of the episodes. And I can’t tell you how many times I was asked to clarify if the events in these episodes really happened. These type of events are so different from our daily lives around here that they continually needed my assurance that things like this do actually happen. The Brinkman Adventures captured their attention like nothing else they have ever heard!

My 10 year-old was especially interested in the Brinkman Adventures. He can be the one that is hard to please because if he doesn’t like something, there isn’t much I can do to convince him to give it a try. The first time we listened to an episode, we were all in the family room. The boys were being boys (wrestling on the couch) and I didn’t think they heard much. But I was wrong. A couple of days later, we took the CDs on a car trip. As soon as I put the first one in I assumed we would need to start over at the beginning. But Caspian had heard everything and told me exactly what had happened!

I now have very fond memories of this special bonding time with Caspian. Just listening to the Brinkman Adventures sparked so many questions in him and we had some great discussions. These talks will always remind me of the Brinkman Adventures and I am incredibly thankful for the quality time they gave me with my son at a time in his life where he seems to grow up more every day. I can see from the questions he asked that he is no longer a little boy but is beginning the transition into being a man and is curious about things like missionary work. What an awesome thing to see! I can guarantee you Caspian will be receiving more of these CDs for his birthday! 😉

Would I recommend the Brinkman Adventures? Without a doubt, I would recommend these wonderful CDs. They made our hour and a half car trip feel like 20 minutes. There are very few products like this that can truly entertain the whole family, and this is one of them. Regardless of your children’s ages, they can all enjoy listening to these audio dramas. The producers do a great job of letting you know if there is anything that may be intense for young children, so you don’t have to worry about them saying things that are too much for the youngest members of your family. We are now life-long fans of the Brinkman Adventures!

Click the link below to see what the rest of the Crew thought about Brinkman Adventures!Click to read Crew Reviews

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Fun Crafts with a Meaningful Message {Deuteronomy 6:7 Craft Box}


Isn’t it wonderful when you can find an activity that your kids enjoy and that teaches them an important message? That is exactly what the new Deuteronomy 6:7 Craft Box from A Moment with M.O.M. delivers! For $19.99 per month, you can subscribe to the Deuteronomy Craft Box and receive new activities every month. There is also the option to make a one-time purchase for a single craft box.


The Deuteronomy Craft Box we received included everything we needed to complete two beautiful crafts, along with additional devotional readings, links to songs, a snack, and even a special present just for Mom! 🙂 From paper to scissors to glue to crayons, everything is in the box. What child doesn’t love getting a special box every month too! My kids have been begging to start these crafts ever since the box arrived.


Although these crafts are intended for younger children, they provide a great time for family bonding. Your older children can help the younger ones with the crafts, or they can help you read the instructions and devotions. They can also help prepare the snack that is included. 😉


If you are a busy mom who feels like she never has time to put crafts together for her children, these craft boxes would be a great thing for you! Every step of each project is explained in an easy to understand way. The kids can create some beautiful keepsakes and have a great time doing it.

20140421-142214.jpgI know art is a subject that is often neglected in our home (which may be why the kids were so excited when the craft box came!) and a monthly subscription to the Deuteronomy 6:7 Craft Box would be the perfect answer to that problem. Go check out the Deuteronomy 6:7 Craft Box from A Moment with M.O.M. and sign up for your chance to create some beautiful memories with your young children.


Put an End to Math Woes with CTC Math {a Schoolhouse Review Crew review}

CTC Math

Not too long ago I brought up the fact that my son was beginning to really struggle with math. I am happy to report that is no longer an issue! This is all thanks to a wonderful online math tutoring program called CTC Math. Our family was blessed to receive the 12 Month Family Plan for review, which is currently on sale for $118.80. There are also options to buy monthly or every six months, and there is also a free trial you can use. CTC Math provides math instruction from Kindergarten all the way up to grade 12

CTC Math Review
This program originated in Australia, but is gaining huge popularity in the United States…and for good reason! I have never seen such a complete program that works with so many different types of learners and is so user-friendly. The math levels that are covered include grades Kindergarten through 6th, Basic Math & Pre-Algebra, Elementary Measurement, Elementary Geometry, Algebra I, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Algebra II, Geometry, and Trigonometry. Currently, grades K-6 can be used as a full curriculum, and they are working on adding more to the upper levels so they can be used as a full curriculum too. There are also sections to work on Speed Skills and Times Tables.


Each instructional lesson starts with a video. The videos in the younger grades are shorter (usually around 3 minutes or so) and get a bit longer as the grade level increases. Your child can see exactly what the instructor is doing as he works through the explanation and sample problems. You can also download a summary of the lesson if you prefer to view it that way.


After the instructional video, your child is ready to do some practice problems. The number of questions does vary with each lesson but there are usually about ten. Up until the upper grade levels, the questions are completed on the computer. For problems that involve things like carrying, numbers can be crossed off and other numbers can be moved in. So everything is interactive.

The questions can be attempted as many times as you want. For the younger grades, the final score is taken from the average of the last 3 attempts at the questions. The first and second attempts of the questions are weighted more heavily in the upper grades to try to encourage the students to not rush through thinking they will just have another chance. Once completed, your child is awarded a certificate based on how well they scored.


As the parent, you are kept informed of how your students are doing. You receive emails each time one of your students earns a certificate. There is also a weekly report you receive for each child. You can log in the Parents’ Area of the CTC math website and see exactly what each of your students has done. You can get the detailed reports and see which lessons they have attempted, along with the score they received.


If you are worried about placement, you don’t need to be. You are given access to all grade levels with CTC math. This way if you find an issue in your child’s current grade level you can go back to the previous grade and see if you can remedy the problem. Or, you can move ahead if you find a section that is too easy. Each section has what is called a “Standard Test” and a “Comprehensive Test”. They are very similar except for the fact that the “Comprehensive Test” has more questions. We used these tests to help with proper grade level placement. They are also a great tool to use at the end of the group of lessons to make sure your child really knows the material.

Although the CTC program was originally intended to be a tutoring type of program, we are using it as our full-time math for 4th grade, 2nd grade, and Kindergarten. We have to use CTC math on several different devices since all of the kids love doing their math. On any given day, one child is using the laptop, another is using a Google Chrome book, and someone else is using the iPad. CTC math works on all of these devices, although there is no access to the Tests on the iPad. The video quality has been excellent on all of the devices, and the kids are really starting to enjoy the instructor’s Australian accent.;-)

CTC math has been such a good thing for my perfectionist child. He is so happy that he can keep working until he gets 100% because he will settle for nothing less. The kids have “friendly” competitions to see who can get the best score on Speed Skills and to see who can get the best score on their lesson during their first try. I have heard no complaints from them, nor have I heard any requests to go back to a different math program. From the moment we gained access to this website, we have used it as our full-time math.


As a busy homeschooling mom, I am so grateful for CTC math. I love math, but I don’t always know how to explain things in the best way when my kids don’t understand it the first time. CTC math pretty much takes me out of the math equation. The kids still occasionally get stuck on something here and there, but it usually just takes me a few minutes to get them set straight and they are back their lesson.


The only minor issue I am having is with Moose. His reading level is not quite where it needs to be in order for him to do his lesson on his own. But, since he wants to be just like the big kids, he tries it anyway.:-) I would never really expect a program like this to be completely independent for a 5-year-old child, so it really isn’t a big deal…I just thought I would mention it in case any of you with younger children were curious.

Would I recommend CTC math? Absolutely! This is one Crew review I guarantee we will be using for a long time, even after our review membership is up. There is no way I could find another math program that is so thorough and affordable that gives me access to use with all of my children. My family was truly blessed to review such a magnificent product. If you have any issues with math in your home (whether you homeschool or not), I highly recommend you check out CTC math!

Want to see if the rest of the Crew loves CTC math as much as we do? Just click on the link below!

Click to read Crew Reviews

You can connect with CTC math through the following social media links:

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